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Saturday, January 17, 2015

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5 Ways Your Home Could Be Making You Miserable


green home

Most people may never think of their home as the cause of being miserable both mentally and physically. Your environment plays a pivotal role in your daily lifestyle, and disruptions in that environment can come from unlikely sources. However, there are methods that can help you improve your daily routine as long as you can identify the causes of your discomfort. What aspects of the home can directly impact how you function throughout the day?

Dust in the Air
Not everyone is immune to various particulates circulating in the air. Many people are allergic to dust and some don’t even realize the problem. Not being able to breath properly can affect everything from sleeping patterns to physical complications. Furnace filters and carpets that hold dust particles could be causing a great deal of your discomfort.

Mold Spores
Dust isn’t the only thing that can affect you that is airborne. Mildews and molds could be growing in carpet padding and walls wreaking havoc on your lungs. For asthmatics, this could cause everything from cold like symptoms to severe complications leading to an emergency room visit.

Clutter
Many studies have shown that people can be affected by the tidiness of their environment. The more haphazard and cluttered a room, the greater the stress level within a particular individual. Some people can go so far as to having an acute anxiety attack or feel claustrophobic due to a messy home.

Lack of Sunlight
For a lot of people, a lack of direct sunlight can cause severe cases of anxiety and cabin fever. While there are some people that prefer the dark, others thrive when there is a regular supply of sunlight coming into the home.

Temperatures
It has been found that 72 degrees Fahrenheit is an ideal temperature to keep people productive in both school and at work. It only stands to reason that temperature variations could be causing distress in the home. Many people are directly affected by climate, and you could be experiencing discomfort on an emotional level should your home be too hot or too cold.

Organic cleaners and compounds are not solely for those looking to save the environment. They can be used to promote a non-allergenic solution that can help you breath better throughout the day. When looking for a carpet cleaner in Brooklyn, find out if they offer solutions that can improve your lifestyle. Why add to your complications with toxic chemicals from cleaning methods? Your environment directly affects your mental state.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Holiday Gift Guide for the eco-friendly lady in your life


With Christmas just around the corner it’s time to start looking for that perfect gift. If you yourself are an eco-friendly shopper or the lady you’re shopping for is – here are some great gift ideas that are green and chic.eco tools makeup brush set

(above) My first pick, and one that I actually own myself, is an Eco Tools brush set. Every lady needs a good brush set and I for one hate brushes that are stiff and scratchy to the skin. Eco Tools brushes are soft and made from synthetic taklon bristles. The handles are made of bamboo and the ferule is made of recycled aluminum. The brush bundle is on holiday special for only 40 bucks and features 9 brushes and a collector’s brush roll.

touch up make up brush set eco tools

(above) They also have a range of smaller sets like their touch-up set, only 9.99 comes with 4 brushes and a pouch to keep them in – very handy for on-the-go. (more…)

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

You are what you eat: are the bacteria in your gut influencing what you eat this holiday season?


man food shopping

Many of us looked forward to that Thanksgiving meal and those December holiday cravings are starting to kick in. I, for one, found myself wondering why we have cravings for certain comfort foods. So I took a peek into the possible reasons for our cravings and the leading one may surprise you.

Firstly, we need to understand how our gut works. After the mechanical manipulation of chewing, food lands in the gut for a nice acid bath and digestion. Monitoring the whole thing is the ENS, enteric nervous system, which is an extensive network of neurons regulating: fluid exchange, blood flow, gut movement , physical condition and information about the gastrointestinal tract. The ENS in turn communicates to our brain via the vagus nerve through the secretion of hormones like peptide YY and cholecystokinin to tell us when we are full.

Now it’s time to get to the issue of cravings. For a long time people believed that our bodies would get cravings for foods that we needed. But new research is finding that the microbial life forms that live in our gut might be influencing our eating habits to best suit them. This sounds iffy at best but when you consider that in our bodies bacteria cells outnumber our own 10 to 1 it seems reasonable to say they are having an effect on us.

So when I dig into my Thanksgiving Day baked yams I’m not only feeding me, but also all the bacteria inside me. Keeping the bacteria happy and healthy is just as important to good bodily function as keeping me healthy and happy. But, can my bacteria be influencing my habits? (more…)

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Monday, December 1, 2014

15 Tips to Prevent Premature Aging of Skin


woman applying face cream

A person starts to age from the moment he or she is conceived. Growing old is a normal part of life and there is no way to stop or reverse this process. Men and women get extremely anxious about their age after a certain age and worry about wanting to looking young while aging gracefully.

It is easy to get caught up in your life and forget about maintaining your looks and health. Modern lifestyle is fast-paced which entails a lack of proper rest and nutrition, dearth of physical activity, as well as smoking and drinking. Such a lifestyle can take a toll on your health and make you look much older than your real age.

Premature aging hinders the process of aging gracefully. It refers to the earlier-than-normal appearance of the signs of aging such as sagging skin, fine lines, wrinkles, uneven skin tone, dark spots, and dryness.

With proper and timely care and attention, however, premature aging of the skin can be prevented. Here are a few tips for that.

1. Eat Healthy
Eating fresh, healthy, and balanced meals contributes to the overall well-being of a person. Foods which are rich in anti-oxidants, vitamins, fatty oils, can do your skin a world of good as it depends on nutritious food to glow naturally.

For a healthy body and a supple skin, include vegetables, fruits, lentils, whole grains, olive oil, and nuts in your diet. Avoid sugar, processed food, and simple carbohydrates.

runner stretching

2. Exercise Is a Must
One cannot stress enough the importance of exercising (as opposed to over-exercising) when it comes to preventing premature aging of skin. Indulging in physical activity on a regular basis is one of the most effective and natural ways to prevent aging.

Make sure you exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, for 6 days in a week to see the difference.

3. Sleep Well
When you sleep, your body starts repairing and restoring damaged cells. If you don’t get adequate sleep, your body starts to produce excess cortisol, which is a hormone that breaks down skin cells.

Getting sufficient beauty sleep ensures that you get ample rest and your body gets enough time to heal itself, part of which results in an increased elasticity in your skin, making it less likely to wrinkle.

4. Moisturize Much
The appearance of your skin is largely determined by how hydrated it is. This is why skin experts always talk about drinking plenty of water and moisturizing every day. Both these elements leave you with softer, smoother skin.

Applying body lotion right after a bath (when the skin is till damp) helps as the skin can absorb the moisture better that way.

Pick a moisturizer/lotion depending on your skin type.

woman on beach

5. Wear Sunscreen
Prolonged exposure to the harmful UV rays from the sun is the leading cause of skin damage and that includes premature aging. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:

  • Wear sunscreen with SPF 15 (or more) every day, even if you’re planning to stay indoors. Apply it at least 30 minutes prior to stepping out in the sun for maximum benefit.
  • Avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm, which is when it is the strongest.
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes, and a large hat with a brim to cover your face.

6. Don’t Smoke
Smoking not only shortens your life, it also wreaks havoc with your skin. Apart from that, it also contributes to the discoloration of the skin, lips, teeth, and nails, which can only make one look unattractive.

As much as possible, avoid both – primary as well as secondary smoke.

7.  Don’t Drink
Drinking too much alcohol can result in broken blood vessels. These may start appearing near your skin’s surface causing you to appear older than you may be. It also damages the liver, which hinders it from flushing out the toxins from your body as effectively as it could.

You will do well to cut back on your drinking or giving it up entirely as the benefits will mirror themselves in your health and skin.

yoga pose

8. Keep Stress Away
Stress can often result in a lack of sleep, or make you resort to smoking and drinking to escape it. As already mentioned, these are unhealthy habits which can contribute to making you look old and wrinkled. Beat stress with a hobby, meditation, yoga and deep breathing.

9. Don’t Over-Wash
Tap water may contain salts and chemicals which can strip your skin of its natural oils and moisture resulting in the development of early wrinkles. While washing your face with a good cleanser suited to your skin type is essential, over-washing it could mean washing away your skin’s natural defenses.

10. Indulge in Facials
Indulging in skin-friendly facials every now and then could make a big difference in the way your skin looks and feels. You need not spend a bomb on it, though. A simple 30-minute facial which includes cleansing, exfoliating (with a gentle facial scrub), a hydrating facemask, steaming and moisturizing should do the trick!

11. Keep Warm in Winters
Cold temperature and winds can rob your skin of its natural moisture and can make it dry, irritated and rough. Make it a point to use a scarf to protect your face when out in the cold. Further, invest in a good moisturizer.

12. Use Good Makeup
Most of us experiment with various beauty products before deciding which ones suit us best. High-quality cosmetics are expensive and experimenting with them can pinch your pocket. It is best to look for freebies or testers of such products and try those to help you decide which ones to buy.

13. Don’t Torment Your Skin
Avoid pulling, rubbing your skin, or any other activity that can cause trauma to it. Aging skin is sensitive and already subjected to UV rays, pollution and stress. I’m sure it doesn’t need any more of it.

be happy

14. Be Happy
Do the things you like and surround yourself with people who make you happy and watch your skin glow.

15. Consult Your Dermatologist
Consulting your dermatologist from time to time about maintaining the health of your skin can help prevent its premature aging.

Conclusion
By following the above tips and making simple changes to your lifestyle, you can ensure that you preserve your youthful looks and continue to minimize the signs of aging.

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Alternatives to Antibiotics


Since they were introduced in the early 1900s, antibiotics have been used heavily in the treatment of bacterial infections, and have saved millions of lives. Unfortunately, today, antibiotics have gone from being lifesavers to potential threats.

Doctors tend to over-prescribe antibiotics as a means of treating illnesses that could be bacterial, but are often not. This is a problem on several levels.

Another issue is that antibiotics are not completely harmless. Like all drugs, antibiotics can have their fair share of side-effects, some of them dangerous.

For example, the antibiotic Avelox causes several side effects that can be serious, and even life threatening. These side effects can include convulsions, peripheral neuropathy, photosensitivity, and even psychotic reactions. In fact, the instances of peripheral neuropathy have been so prevalent that there are several class action lawsuits in the works, which you can learn more about here.

Get a Second Opinion
If your doctor has prescribed medication to treat cold or flu symptoms, such as head and chest congestion, or a cough, you should get a second opinion. As we stated before, antibiotics are only effective in treating bacterial infections. Some viral infections can become bacterial, but it’s best to have the doctor do a culture to detect the presence of bacteria.

Alternatives to Antibiotics
Wait for it To Resolve
Some bacterial infections don’t need antibiotic therapy.

For example, bacterial sinus infections will often resolve on their own over time, and antibiotics don’t really make much difference.

While you are waiting for the illness to resolve, you can use over-the-counter and natural remedies to treat your symptoms, including:

  • Homeopathic remedies to treat runny nose and congestion;
  • Over-the-counter pain killers for body aches;
  • Hot and cold compresses over the eyes to treat sinus headaches and congestion;
  • Neti pots or nasal irrigation to flush the sinuses;
  • Eucalyptus chest rubs;
  • Steam;
  • Room humidifiers; and
  • Plenty of rest.

Try a Natural Antibiotic
The first antibiotic was made from a naturally-occurring mold. That natural mold was then synthesized in a lab to create penicillin, and from that technology came all of the other antibiotic drugs in use today. However, molds aren’t the only source of natural antibiotics. In fact, there are several herbs and foods that have antibacterial properties, and can help you treat minor infections.

Consult an Alternative Medicine Practitioner
Herbalists, naturopaths, and other alternative medicine practitioners often have treatments that can help relieve your symptoms, and even resolve the actual infection without antibiotics or other drugs.

Things to Consider
While it is possible to treat some infections on your own, without mainstream medical intervention, there are times when you should consider seeing a doctor and taking antibiotics:

  • If you have a fever that persists for several days;
  • If your heart rate is increased;
  • If your notice fast or shallow breathing;
  • If you have an infected injury and the area around the injury is inflamed with red streaks radiating out from it;
  • If you have difficulty thinking or concentrating; and
  • If you notice pain and stiffness in your neck.

These could be a sign that the infection is worsening, or that it is spreading to other areas of your body. In severe cases, you could develop sepsis, which can affect multiple organ systems, or the infection could spread to the brain and the membrane surrounding the brain and spinal cord.

Both sepsis and infections in and around the brain are potentially life-threatening.

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Nutritional Skincare at Whole Foods – a tried and true review


full disclosure: Whole Foods provided me with three complimentary ACURE ORGANICS products to test for the purposes of this Tried and True Green Products Review. I’ve really enjoyed using the cleanser, toner and facial cream for the past several weeks … here’s my review.

acure Moisturizer

I’m one of those people who likes to take care of my skin – with kindness, and as little fuss as possible. As we all know skin changes over time. So the products we choose to care for our skin change, too. Years ago, I used products designed to treat oily or normal to combination skin. These days I seek out non-toxic products that are intended for dry or sensitive skin. Whether it’s the skin on my face, torso or limbs, I try to provide the best everyday protection and moisturizing possible.

acureToner

Acure Organics is a US-based, Fair Trade and family-owned company that uses 100% nature-based and 70% certified organic ingredients in the creation of their extensive lines of skincare and haircare products. They take a “feed your skin” approach to beauty:  “ACURE for the skin means driving real results through simple, plant and food-based ingredients. Feeding it as properly as you would feed your body internally is the only way to truly optimize its function. We formulate using the same powerful nutrients that you would eat, fueling your skin through nutrition-based skin care. It’s like supplements for the skin! Clinically proven result without the use of gluten, synthetic preservatives or fragrances. No parabens, sulfates, phthalates, petrochemicals, or animal bi-products. We provide scientific nutritional support to enhance the skin’s own ability to regenerate optimally.”

acureCleansersHere’s the easy 3-step skincare routine that I’ve been following recently, thanks to ACURE ORGANICS:

  • Fragrance Free Sensitive Facial Cleanser … I simply splash water on my face, dab on a bit of cream, massage and rinse. Skin feels really smooth and clean – no filmy residue. The ingredient list on all of these products is spelled out in lay terms, which is awesome. Natural Vitamin E, Fatty Alcohol, Sugar Soap, Sugar Gum, in addition to a slew of organic ingredients, like: chamomile, acai, blackberry, coconut oil, olive oil, argan oil, pumpkin seed oil and even CoQ10 (more…)
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